Mark Memmott

Mark Memmott is one of the hosts of NPR's "The Two-Way" news blog.

"The Two-Way," which Memmott helped to launched when he came to NPR in 2009, focuses on breaking news, analysis, and the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

Before joining NPR, Memmott worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor at USA Today. He focused on a range of coverage from politics, foreign affairs, economics, and the media. He's reported from places across the Unites States and the world, including half a dozen trips to Afghanistan in 2002-2003.

During his time at USA Today, Memmott, helped launch and lead three USAToday.com news blogs: "On Deadline," "The Oval" and "On Politics," the site's 2008 presidential campaign blog.

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The Two-Way
6:32 am
Wed May 30, 2012

WikiLeaks' Assange Has Two Weeks To Appeal Extradition Decision

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last December.
Geoff Caddick AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 7:33 am

While Britain's Supreme Court today said that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face accusations of sex assault, he was also given two weeks to appeal that ruling.

Assange's lawyer said that she needs that time to probe whether the court's decision was based in part on matters that weren't argued during the legal proceedings.

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The Two-Way
5:59 am
Wed May 30, 2012

Turkey Expels All Syrian Diplomatic Staff, 'Most Significant' Such Move So Far

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 6:07 am

Turkey announced today that it is ordering all Syrian diplomats and their staffs out of the country, as it joins other nations in registering outrage about a massacre over the weekend that has been blamed on forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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The Two-Way
5:28 am
Wed May 30, 2012

For The Record: It's Romney

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday in Las Vegas.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 10:05 am

  • Ari Shapiro, reporting on 'Morning Edition'

There hadn't been any doubt about it for several weeks, but with his win Tuesday in the Texas primary Mitt Romney has "clinched the Republican presidential nomination," according to The Associated Press.

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The Two-Way
5:10 am
Wed May 30, 2012

Liberia's Charles Taylor Sentenced To 50 Years For War Crimes

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor during his sentencing today in The Hague.
Toussaint Kluiters AFP/Getty Images

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for war crimes that the presiding judge on an international war crimes court says were of the "utmost gravity in terms of scale and brutality."

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The Two-Way
1:34 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

A 'Macabre' Process: Nominating Terrorists To Nation's 'Kill List'

President Obama and John Brennan, his top counterterrorism adviser, in the Oval Office on Jan. 4, 2010. Brennan is a key voice about who gets put on the "kill list."
Pete Souza White House

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 6:45 pm

One of the day's most-discussed stories has to be The New York Times' report headlined "Secret 'Kill List' Proves A Test Of Obama's Principles And Will."

It's a long, detailed look at how the president has "placed himself at the helm of a top secret 'nominations' process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical."

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The Two-Way
11:54 am
Tue May 29, 2012

No Way She'll Run For Senate In 2016, Michelle Obama Says

First lady Michelle Obama.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

The New York Times' Frank Bruni floated the idea, saying he'd heard "a vague murmuring" about Michelle Obama running for the Senate from Illinois in 2016.

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The Two-Way
10:31 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Wrigley The Goat Aims At Cubs' Curse; Xiao Sa The Dog Races Across China

Wrigley, the goat that is.
Facebook.com/CrackTheCurse

If a goat walks about 2,000 miles from Arizona to Chicago can that "reverse the curse" that has plagued the Cubs for nearly 67 years?

Odd as that question sounds, it's about to be put to the test.

Five Cubs fans and a goat have just finished a three-month walk from Mesa, Ariz., to the Windy City and are due at Wrigley Field this afternoon when the Cubs host the San Diego Padres.

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Tue May 29, 2012

'Flame' Malware Said To Be Targeting Iran: Huge Deal Or Huge Hype?

An undated screen grab, released by the Kaspersky Lab, showing some of the programming behind Flame.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 1:44 pm

Word from the antivirus experts at Kaspersky Lab that "we've found what might be the most sophisticated cyber weapon yet unleashed," and that this Flame spyware is targeting Iran and some places in the Middle East, is getting lots of attention this morning:

-- "Massive Cyber-Attack Discovered, Researchers Say." (BBC News)

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The Two-Way
8:16 am
Tue May 29, 2012

On Second Thought, Maybe Consumer Confidence Isn't That High

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 8:45 am

Last week, the researchers who put out the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers said their index rose in May to "its highest level since October 2007" — before the last recession began.

But when it comes to economics, there always seem to be an "on the other hand" moment coming — especially when the economy appears to be at a turning point.

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The Two-Way
7:21 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Home Prices Haven't 'Turned,' But Some Edged Up As Quarter Ended

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 7:41 am

Home prices slipped further in the first quarter, according to the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. It reports that:

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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Tue May 29, 2012

How Do You Spell Precocious? 6-Year-Old Spelling Bee Contestant Would Know

The National Spelling Bee gets going Wednesday and the story that's got everyone buzzing is about the youngest competitor in the contest's history: 6-year-old Lori Anne Madison from Woodbridge, Va.

She is, as Washington's WJLA-TV says, a "precocious little girl" who "is anything but ordinary" and will be on stage with others twice her age.

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The Two-Way
6:06 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Italy Rocked By Second Deadly Quake

Two police officers in Mirandola try to comfort a woman after today's earthquake in Northern Italy.
Pierre Teyssot AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 7:25 am

The news has gotten worse from Italy. Just after 9:15 a.m. ET, The Associated Press reported that authorities say at least 15 people were killed today by an earthquake that struck the northern part of the country.

Our original post, from 8:05 a.m. ET:

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The Two-Way
5:39 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Good News: Beryl Weakened. Better News: It Drenched Parched Areas

A National Weather Service radar image of Beryl early this morning. It was stretching from North Florida into Georgia.
National Weather Service

As residents in Northeast Florida give thanks that Tropical Storm Beryl did relatively little damage over the weekend and did not develop into a hurricane, they're also grateful that it brought rain to an area plagued by drought.

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The Two-Way
5:13 am
Tue May 29, 2012

Most Victims Of Friday's Massacre In Syria Were Executed, U.N. Says

Saturday: In this picture provided by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network, people watch the mass burial of victims from Friday's violence in Houla.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 1:42 pm

"The U.N. said Tuesday that entire families were shot in their homes during a massacre in Syria on Friday that killed more than 100 people, including children," The Associated Press reports. And as nations around the world have reacted this morning to news about the atrocities, they're expelling Syrian diplomats in protest.

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The Two-Way
11:35 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Cleared Of Rape Conviction, California Man Remains 'Unbroken'

A tear of relief: Brian Banks after his rape conviction was dismissed Thursday.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 3:24 pm

  • Brian Banks on Southern California Public Radio

Five years in prison. Then five years of probation and wearing an electronic monitoring device. The shame of being a registered sex offender. Not being able to get a job. His dream of playing in the NFL destroyed, possibly forever.

Brian Banks, now 26, has gone through all that.

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The Two-Way
9:44 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Consumer Confidence Highest Since Before Recession, Survey Says

If consumers are in the mood to shop, that could give the economy a lift.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 10:13 am

Here's news that could affect both the economy and the presidential race:

Consumer confidence has improved "in each of the past nine monthly surveys" and is now at "its highest level since October 2007," according to the latest Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers. The most recent recession officially began in December 2007, and lasted into early summer 2009.

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The Two-Way
8:51 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Man At Center Of Federal Agency's Las Vegas Scandal Leaves His Job

Jeff Neely during an April 16 hearing on Capitol Hill. He declined to answer any of the lawmakers' questions.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Jeff Neely, the regional official at the General Services Administration who hosted a 2010 taxpayer-funded conference in Las Vegas that became a scandal as details about excessive spending, gifts and lavish parties were revealed, has left his job at the agency.

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The Two-Way
7:53 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Lost Bike Found After 41 Years; Then, The Story Gets Weird

Lisa Brown, in front, during a "dramatic" recreation of how she lost her bike in 1970.
Cape Cod Times

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 12:06 pm

In 1970 a young girl lost her banana-seat bike. Lisa Brown was riding it across a rickety bridge in Cape Cod, Mass., when she and the bike tumbled into a little river. The bike sank into the muck and was gone.

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The Two-Way
5:53 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Egypt May Be Headed To Runoff Between Islamist And Former Mubarak Aide

An Egyptian election official counting ballots from the presidential election.
Fredrik Persson AP

As Egyptian officials count ballots from this week's first-ever free presidential election in that country, the Muslim Brotherhood is claiming its candidate got the most votes and will likely be in a runoff next month against ousted President Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister.

From Cairo, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson cautions that officials are advising against "believing statements by groups claiming to know who won." Official results aren't due to be released until next Tuesday.

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The Two-Way
5:18 am
Fri May 25, 2012

SpaceX Craft Docks With Space Station; Commercial Era Begins

An image of the Dragon spacecraft, taken earlier today with a thermal camera aboard the International Space Station.
Twitter.com/SpaceX

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 11:48 am

The historic first docking of a commercial spacecraft at the International Space Station orbiting above Earth happened without a hitch today, as SpaceX's Dragon capsule arrived with supplies for the crew orbiting high above Earth.

Just before 10 a.m. ET, astronauts aboard the space station successfully grabbed the capsule with a robotic arm. A little after noon ET, the pulled the Dragon into its docking space.

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The Two-Way
11:59 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Kid Told Westboro Protesters 'God Hates No One' Because, 'That Is True'

Josef Miles, making his own statement.
Patty Akrouche Facebook.com/FeverDreams
  • From 'Tell Me More': Josef Miles and his mom

"I just don't like seeing those signs and I kind of wanted to put a stop to that."

That's 9-year-old Josef Miles' simple explanation for why he held up a notepad that said "GOD HATES NO ONE" as supporters of the tiny Westboro Baptist Church staged another small demonstration featuring their signs that say God hates homosexuals.

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The Two-Way
11:29 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Talks With Iran To Reconvene Next Month

"Iran and world powers have agreed to meet in Moscow next month for another round of negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program," The Associated Press reports.

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Bad News In New Orleans: 'Times-Picayune' Slashing Staff, Going To 3 Days

The highly respected journalists at New Orleans' Times-Picayune last night found out the hard way — from another news outlet — that they're about to face deep staff cuts and that the newspaper will soon only print three days a week.

The New York Times' Media Decoder broke the story Wednesday just before midnight ET.

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The Two-Way
8:08 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Ted, What Have You Been Doing With Yourself? Unabomber, You Say?

Unabomber Ted Kaczynski being led into a Montana court in 1996.
Elaine Thompson AP

No, the Unabomber won't be attending his 50th class reunion at Harvard this week.

But Ted Kaczynski has updated his former classmates about what he's been up to all these years.

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The Two-Way
7:17 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Egypt's Historic Voting Continues

An Egyptian man shows his ink-stained finger after voting in Cairo earlier today.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 12:27 pm

  • Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, on 'Morning Edition'
  • Merrit Kennedy on 'Morning Edition'

A quick update:

Day two of the voting in Egypt's first-ever free presidential election is underway. From Cairo, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports that while turnout early in the day was slightly lower than on Wednesday, officials expect the lines will build as the day continues.

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The Two-Way
6:44 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Jobless Claims Dip; Orders For Durable Goods Are Soft

The number of first-time claims for jobless benefits dipped slightly last week, to 370,000 from 372,000 the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

The 4-week moving average for claims — which economists say gives a better picture of the trend — was also 370,000, down by 5,500.

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The Two-Way
6:16 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Cyber Countershot: U.S. Hacks Web Ads Of Al-Qaida's Yemen Affiliate

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 3:06 pm

Update at 4:53 p.m. ET. U.S. Is Not 'Hacking':

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston tells us State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland made it clear that the United States is not "hacking" the websites that appeal to al-Qaida. Instead, they are "countering propaganda with a counter-narrative that we believe is closer to the truth of the situation."

In her All Things Considered report, Dina provides an example:

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The Two-Way
5:28 am
Thu May 24, 2012

Man Has Implicated Himself In Etan Patz Disappearance, NY Police Say

Etan Patz, and the "lost child" poster issued after his 1979 disappearance.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 7:13 pm

Update at 7:13 p.m. ET: Police Announce Arrest Of Suspect:

At a press conference in New York, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said police had arrested Pedro Hernandez in the killing of Etan Patz, the 6-year-old boy who disappeared as he was walking to school in 1979.

Officials say Hernandez, a former convenience store worker, confessed to police that he suffocated the boy, placing his body in a cardboard box. Etan's body has never been found.

Kelly said Hernandez also took police to the site where he contends the killing occurred.

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The Two-Way
1:22 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Poachers Can Be Shot, Officials In India Declare

An Indian tiger looks out from a camouflaged cover in the Ranthambhore National Park. (March 2000 file photo.)
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Poachers caught hunting tigers in India's Maharashtra state are on notice that they could be shot on sight.

The Times of India says the "stern stand against poachers" means "if the forest officials fire upon the poachers injuring or killing them, the action will not be considered a crime." Prior to this week's announcement by state officials, those guards were subject to prosecution for such actions.

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